Online games / lodges excluding non-locals and limiting tables size


Organized Play General Discussion

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4/5 5/5 *

Like many folks I have significantly increased my online play recently. When I search on warhorn for games I encounter games/lodges not allowing non-locals to sign up until the last moment or at all. I also find some games/lodges limiting table size to less than OP legal limits, usually 5 players. Is this legal in organized play?

2/5 5/5 ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Massachusetts—Boston

My understanding:
1) if its an Online lodge, they generally need to be open to everyone with no favoritism
2) If its a local lodge offering online play (mainly as a way to keep their community together during this time period), its allowed to have advanced sign up for local members -- you still can't reserve seats for _particular_ people.

People were always free to set a lower seat limit than the max allowed. Either due to GM comfort, venue seating, time constraints, etc.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

Bongo BigBounce wrote:
Is this legal in organized play?

Legal or not it is fairly widespread and based on the many times this conversation has come up, those who are doing it are not inclinded to change their methodology.

Grand Lodge 4/5 *** Venture-Captain, California—Sacramento

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It is entirely permitted to limit the number of table reservations. (Some places limit sign ups to 4 or even 3 to make room for walkins.)

GMs can limit tables for a wide variety of reasons. There is no requirement that GMs run for 5 or 6 players, especially if they feel it would prevent them from delivering a good play experience.

**

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Bongo BigBounce wrote:
games/lodges not allowing non-locals to sign up until the last moment or at all.

If you're going to discuss it further, I recommend separating the two issues. Not letting non-locals sign up at all is very different from letting locals sign up first.

There are probably discussable points around geographic segregation, but people have given it a pass for 2020.

---

As an aside, as someone who normally signs up for games 6-18 hours in advance, I roll my eyes at the phrase "last moment" - most games that restrict open it up 2-3 days in advance so while it's "last moment" compared to the people who sign up 6-8 weeks in advance, I don't consider it "last moment" unless it's measured in minutes. :D

3/5 5/55/5 *** Contributor

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Some communities who do this allow non-locals to sign up with locals if you GM sometimes for that particular lodge. It allows someone from far away to become part of a specific community (which has been a neat part of all this online play!) but prevents games filling up with a bunch of random people before the local players the game is intended to serve have a chance.

The online lodges are probably your best bet for finding online games, so I’d definitely recommend registering for those lodges’ Warhorns!

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

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Limiting participants is basically no different from you deciding who you want to invite to your home when you're running a game of pathfinder there. The GM has no obligation to allow random people into their games.

However, if the event is qualifying for the Regional Support Program or Online Support Program (PFS1 and SFS), one of the requirements is that the game must be public. That's generally understood as "open for everyone". If the game is benefiting from RSP or OSP, it should not have seats reserved for locals/friends/paying customers/specific classes or levels/etc.

For PFS2, regional support program doesn't exist in the same way as it does for PFS1e and SFS, but, it has Premier Events which grant +25% achievement points:
"Premier events: games played at conventions and local events designated part of the Regional Support Program.", and since those are also part of the regional support program, they should also be open for everyone.

So... Unless the game is benefiting from extra goodies because it's part of the regional support program, GM's are free to choose their players. The VO's or Paizo simply don't have the power to force anyone to GM for random people, but they can reward it by offering boons or extra AcP.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I don't think there's anything wrong with this. Most lodges moved games online to keep their local scene alive while we wait for the plague to pass. Limiting sign ups to mostly local players ensures that they keep the local scene going, but they might be willing to take a couple random outsiders if their game has room after the locals have had a chance to sign up.
Imagine a meatspace situation where you visit a new city and walk to a game store to see there's a PFS game going on. Is there room at the table? Hop right in! Now imagine next week grabbing a bunch of friends from your town, driving over to the other town, and grabbing all the seats at the table and leaving the local players baffled as you've essentially highjacked their GM :P (extreme example, but a lot easier to happen over the internet when you can quickly muster your friends to take over the sign ups for a table that was originally intended for the locals). The lodges just want to avoid this possibility.

**

Tommi Ketonen wrote:
I don't think there's anything wrong with this.

I think it warrants some discussion and some agreed-on rules moving forward.

We've given it a pass for the past year because there weren't any real options - everyone endured Forced Movement into VTT and it kind of sucked for everyone.

But, let's look forward:

1. As F2F-preferring players return to F2F games, do VTT-preferring players have the right to exclude non-regulars from their VTT games?

2. If a F2F venue holds a VTT one-off, would it be jerky to restrict geographically?

3. What happens when two different Lodges have different cultures around what constitutes "late signups"? Take Lodge #1, where the VOs post games 3 months in advance, and all the regulars typically sign up 2-3 months in advance and T-2 weeks is considered "late signup"; compare it to Lodge #2, where the VOs post games only 2 weeks in advance.

4. Can F2F venues continue to restrict their games geographically? "Locals"-only signup?

I don't have a lot of answers, but I think there will be a lot of questions if the transition back to F2F play is done ad hoc.

Grand Archive 4/5 ***

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It is going to have to come down to region by region questions. There is not a one size fits all answer. If you have a problem with how a lodge is conducting themselves, that is what Regional Venture Coordinators are for.

Silver Crusade 5/5 5/5 **

Jared Thaler - Personal Opinion wrote:
It is going to have to come down to region by region questions. There is not a one size fits all answer. If you have a problem with how a lodge is conducting themselves, that is what Regional Venture Coordinators are for.

I'm pretty sure its going to come down to much smaller venues than a region. In all but the most egregious cases, the RVC is going to delegate to the VC who is going to delegate to the VL who is going to delegate to the venue coordinator.

The line between an "open" and a "closed" game has ALWAYS been pretty blurry and mostly relies on people being mostly reasonable. Yeah, I know there are some rules in place but the fact is that it is pretty easy to break or bend the rules if one is so inclined. As we all know, there are quite a few rules that are all but totally ignored in practice at many locations.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

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Just because a game is public doesn't mean we have to let anybody sit at the table with no other conditions.

Back in the days of (almost) everything being face-to-face gaming we still had requirements. In our area we expected players to sign up for the games rather than just showing up at the store and demanding a seat. And when a player did sign up, we expected them to show up. If they had to pull out less than a day before the game we asked that they inform the coordinator and/or the GM directly as well as signing out.

We also required players to be respectful of the other people at the table. Players exhibiting abusive or threatening behaviour, cheating, and suchlike would be asked to stop it. That was almost always enough, but if it wasn't then there was the option of refusing to seat that player.

And, finally (and possibly most germane to this topic) there was the problem of what to do with stores where there were regularly more players signed up than there were GMs for. The first step to solving this problem is to point out to the players that they have a way to solve this for themselves - one of them could always sign up to GM.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

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Quote:
1. As F2F-preferring players return to F2F games, do VTT-preferring players have the right to exclude non-regulars from their VTT games?

As I mentioned in the post, explicitly yes. You're the GM, you get to decide who plays at your table. You could have the game completely private if you wanted and just invite a couple friends. If a GM wants to include non-regulars and take walk ins/random players, that's 100% their choice, UNLESS they are benefiting from the regional support/are a premium event, in which case the guidelines for those dictate that the game should be public.

Quote:


2. If a F2F venue holds a VTT one-off, would it be jerky to restrict geographically?

This question isn't about "can they", but rather, "is it a jerk move?". However, I don't see why it would be. Unless they are benefiting from regional support.

However, even when they are benefiting from regional support, what constitutes a "public game" depends by region and venue. I'll get back to this later.

Quote:


3. What happens when two different Lodges have different cultures around what constitutes "late signups"? Take Lodge #1, where the VOs post games 3 months in advance, and all the regulars typically sign up 2-3 months in advance and T-2 weeks is considered "late signup"; compare it to Lodge #2, where the VOs post games only 2 weeks in advance.

What happens is that those VO's/GM's have different rules for how you sign up to their game. There is no problem or issue here.

Quote:


4. Can F2F venues continue to restrict their games geographically? "Locals"-only signup?

Again, why couldn't they?

Think about it this way: I can not force you to come and play at my table. It simply isn't possible. There's no way I can do that.
Similarly, you can not force me to GM for you. There's no way to do that, it simply is not possible. If I don't want to GM for you, whether it is based on your region or the platform you want to use or any number of personal reasons, you simply can't change that, and neither can the VO's nor Paizo.

What VOs/Paizo -can- do is remove the regional support from my games if I do not keep my games "public" and open to everyone. So it all boils down to: Does the GM/VO/Venue want the regional support? If yes, the games must be public (=open to everyone).

However, what constitutes as "Public games" varies by region. Nothing, (literally, nothing) forces you to post your games on warhorn. Online lodges that benefit from OSP (online support program, online variant of the RSP) *probably* demand that OSP games are posted on warhorn to be public (But you should ask the online VO's about their policies). Local gameshop venues might demand that for game to benefit from regional support, the games must be posted on the gameshop wall so that any customer might learn about them and join them, to be considered public. Some areas might have a requirement that public games need to be posted on their own, public message boards or facebook group to count for RSP. Some region might ask that you visit the local marketplace at noon on the monday before the game and make an announcement with megaphone about the upcoming game so that the whole town knows about it, thus making it public >.>.

Going forward, there's not much to discuss here. VOs, GMs, and Venues are free to choose their players. They have always been, and it is physically impossible to stop that. Paizo has promised extra rewards and incentives for keeping games open, and they can withdraw those if the games aren't actually public.

It's worth noting that it is also within the interest of the regions/venues/GMs/groups to keep the (not completely open) games -somewhat open if they can- in order to ensure that they have enough players, and to grow their player base, and to benefit the organized play as whole. Still, they need to strike a balance between this goal, and keeping their regulars happy, and keeping their GMs happy, and that's why they may choose to limit who can sign up.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

Watery Soup wrote:
Tommi Ketonen wrote:
I don't think there's anything wrong with this.

I think it warrants some discussion and some agreed-on rules moving forward.

But let's put it this way. Why would you think there is something wrong with GM's deciding how and who can sign up for their game?

Have you ever played in an AP or a module ran by a friend of yours? Did they invite only their friends? Did you get a chronicle sheet for it?
If yes, do you think they could have been, or should have been, somehow forced to instead write a warhorn sign up and tell their friends that "nope, can't favor you, my favorite players, for this module I'm running. Gotta see if some random new person I've never met is quicker on signing up than you guys are."

(Also, agree with what John said, but (good) reasons for excluding a player from the table (even from a public one) is slightly different than "Must I invite every player in the world to my game, or can I choose who I GM for", which is essentially the question in this thread. The OP question literally was: Can a GM restrict sign ups, or allow limited number of people to their game. The answer to those questions is explicitly "Yes, and Yes, unless they benefit from RSP, in which case terms and conditions may apply." )

The Exchange 4/5 5/5

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There's a big difference between games being organized online as "Kevin's online PFS games" and "Smalltown, TX Gaming store (online)." Especially right now.

The entire purpose of these locality-based online games is to preserve a sense of community. The expectation is that these places will go back to holding in-person games, hopefully soon. So it makes perfect sense to prioritize local players who will be attending those games over people from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

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There are three things that can add context here:

Covid Lockdowns.

Like Tommi and Belafon mentioned, many lodges are currently online only because of COVID lockdown and dealing with damage to their communities from game store closures. These lodges moved games online to serve their existing communities, not random internet people. They are fighting to survive and still learning about being online; they are not trying to expand into a new medium.

Table Caps Just Mean More GMs.

VTTs often have their own constraints and are far less enjoyable with 6 players (I will not play at a 6-person table unless I know everyone there is fast and has good VTT manners; most of the players I know feel the same way). Many lodges set a lower number of players because that’s what their communities want; it’s really more like an inflection point for GM recruitment than a hard cap.

Want more online tables? GM online tables. If you see a full table or a waitlist, email the VA and offer to run. Communities will welcome you into the fold when you give back.

Context is Changing.

As communities reopen, needs will change. I suspect we will see many of these VTT policies relaxed; some lodges may even form VTT-specific events that are led by VAs who are equipped to manage the particulars of online gaming communities… which are a lot different than local ones.

--

As a VO who had to scramble to keep his community alive, adapt, and made a lot of mistakes along the way… that's my 2 cents.

**

Tommi Ketonen wrote:
Why would you think there is something wrong with GM's deciding how and who can sign up for their game?

Because, if it's not common in Finland, it's certainly the case here in the San Francisco Bay Area that GMs neither decide what game they're running nor do they have the means to control who signs up - the VOs put games on the schedule and control the lodge recruiting.

Many, but not all, of the GMs are also VOs, so there's some overlap, but not exactly.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

Watery Soup wrote:
Tommi Ketonen wrote:
Why would you think there is something wrong with GM's deciding how and who can sign up for their game?

Because, if it's not common in Finland, it's certainly the case here in the San Francisco Bay Area that GMs neither decide what game they're running nor do they have the means to control who signs up - the VOs put games on the schedule and control the lodge recruiting.

Many, but not all, of the GMs are also VOs, so there's some overlap, but not exactly.

At least at the events I help manage (can't speak for anyone else, but you mentioned the greater area of which my events are a part), we give GMs full control over recruiting settings for the game. If someone wants to run a table within the legal means of PFS, they are welcome to override any lodge defaults based on situational context or preference and VAs will try to help that happen smoothly. We also offer Campaign Mode events where it is entirely up to the GM. So, GMs here actually do have all the tools they need to control signups.

We also encourage self-organizing and communication when it comes to mustering at multi-table events, though that is ultimately the VA's job as it helps ensure events have balanced parties and clarity about who goes where.

Overall, we want to serve our community AND volunteer GMs — that means setting up guidelines based on what we understand best serves the community and works well, while not being authoritarian about it.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

Watery Soup wrote:
Tommi Ketonen wrote:
Why would you think there is something wrong with GM's deciding how and who can sign up for their game?
Because, if it's not common in Finland, it's certainly the case here in the San Francisco Bay Area that GMs neither decide what game they're running nor do they have the means to control who signs up - the VOs put games on the schedule and control the lodge recruiting.

Our VOs put games on the schedule based on the information they have as to what their player community wants to play, and what GMs want to run.

If you have additional information, then give it to the relevant VO.

**

I don't think you really understand what I'm asking. But whatever, I'll let you guys deal with it.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 * Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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Belafon wrote:

There's a big difference between games being organized online as "Kevin's online PFS games" and "Smalltown, TX Gaming store (online)." Especially right now.

The entire purpose of these locality-based online games is to preserve a sense of community. The expectation is that these places will go back to holding in-person games, hopefully soon. So it makes perfect sense to prioritize local players who will be attending those games over people from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

I want to echo this. When our county went into lockdown last March about 6 hours before a scheduled PFS game, I scrambled to organize a VTT game that night for any of the players signed up for the F2F game that wanted to try it out. From there, we slowly (and at times painfully) built out structures to run VTT games over the last 15 months with the specific intention of maintaining our community so we would have a player and GM base to come back to when we could return to F2F gaming. The ability to play with folks from around the world is a great side benefit, but not if it interferes with maintaining our local community. The point of the RSP is to support regional play (it's right there in the name), and trying to use it to undermine regional efforts to protect and support regional lodges goes against the spirit of the program. These are extraordinary times, and we've all had to adapt and adjust, and times like this require flexibility, patience, and understanding if we want our community to come out whole on the other side.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

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Warhorn doesn't really make it easy to put a signal on a listed game on whether you're aiming it purely, mostly, or not particularly at locals. An entire event is either private or public. If someone is hunting for a game to play or a particular scenario, Warhorn's search function doesn't do a great job of filtering the intentions of event/session organizers.

I've ended up in some online sessions where I felt awkward, with locals surprised by the sudden rando showing up.

What I find works much better is to keep an eye on the "looking for player" channels in discords of the various online lodges. If a session is posted there, you KNOW you're wanted.

**

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Dennis Muldoon wrote:
we slowly (and at times painfully) built out structures to run VTT games over the last 15 months with the specific intention of maintaining our community so we would have a player and GM base to come back to when we could return to F2F gaming. The ability to play with folks from around the world is a great side benefit, but not if it interferes with maintaining our local community.

Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!

My concern is very specifically about the word "local". I'll use myself as an example of this - geographically, I'm in the East Bay. But historically, I've played more in the South Bay because I used to work there. Over this past year, I've played with San Francisco more than any other lodge, because the day of the week worked out best. Which region am I a local to? (FWIW, I argue none - I don't play enough in any region that someone should wonder how their policy affects me.)

On the flip side, the SFBA has picked up a lot of e-wanderers over the past year - people that regularly play, and regularly GM, for SFBA games even though they are geographically distant. Are they "locals"? Certainly more than I am.

I'm not advocating any specific ruling or policy, just pointing out that as things return to "normal", there are going to be some questions - especially in a F2F/VTT hybrid format.

2/5 5/5 *

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Quote:
Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!

When I have that thought, it's usually a sign that I should cancel the post I'm writing and go do something else.

I feel as though you're overthinking the term "local." Local means a physical venue and the people who show up are the people who can reasonably attend at the physical venue, limited by the amount of time and resources they're willing to put into getting there.

Using your example as an example, you are local to East Bay because you live there and can physically travel there. You're also local to South Bay because you could leave work and go play (or go play and then head on to work). I suspect there's a bunch of physical venues all over that geographic space. For some people, maybe they can only attend the venue that they can walk to or that has a bus route with easy access. They're local only to their one venue, in their minds.

Here, I had one venue that was attended by roughly 8-12 geographically local people. Basically 2 tables per week. Nobody drove from some other venue to play with us, the distance is prohibitive except during our single convention.

Now move online to keep the community tied together and afloat.

The number of Organized Play players in the San Francisco area is probably adequate to run several tables across several days of the week. They can probably absorb a few random people teleporting in from across the country or globe--and if they can't, I wouldn't blame them.

If my physical venue had moved online, with our exactly 2 tables worth of participants, we would have gotten eaten alive by online commuters. We probably could not have handled even people from venues a 2 hour drive away popping in frequently. We'd would be dismayed trying to sign up when people from the East Coast, West Coast, Russia, Spain, probably not Australia... started filling up our tables.

Sure, we could offer more tables, but that splits the community further and further apart as fewer and fewer local players sitting at the table together. The GMs would no longer be GMing for the community that attends So-and-So's Game Store Game Day but would be GMing in the VTT region.

EDIT: So if your concern is that people will take this system of restricting VTT games to "local" players back to the F2F venues and start excluding people from 2 states away from signing up on their Warhorn because they knew they'd be flying in for business and would have that time free to play some PFS, I don't think that's going to happen.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

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We'll address any issues as they arrive - it's far too early to know exactly what problems we will face, let alone decide what will be the best course of action to deal with any issue with the least disruption.

We do anticipate continuing to offer online games for some time. Until we're back to most venues offering regular face-to-face gaming we won't know what player base we are serving - not everyone participates in online games. One thing we do know is we won't be going back to the situation as before - not all of our venues are returning, and some of those that are have either moved to a different location or changed their policies (charging for tables that were previously free-to-play, for example). We know from past experience that even a small table fee (even if returned as store credit) does constitute a significant barrier for some players.

Shadow Lodge 4/5 Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

Blake's Tiger wrote:
The number of Organized Play players in the San Francisco area is probably adequate to run several tables across several days of the week. They can probably absorb a few random people teleporting in from across the country or globe--and if they can't, I wouldn't blame them.

More than adequate. We have several venues that can fill multiple tables on a single night, and at least one venue offering games most days of the week.

But despite that we can't always provide everything our players would like to see. If almost everybody who is interested has played a non-repeatable scenario it's very hard to put together a good table for the two players who have expressed interest in filling that gap in their play record.

Online play has provided us with a way to address that problem. If we put together a table with a GM and those two players, and open up the extra seats to a wider community, we could expect to see those seats get filled.

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

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Watery Soup wrote:
On the flip side, the SFBA has picked up a lot of e-wanderers over the past year - people that regularly play, and regularly GM, for SFBA games even though they are geographically distant. Are they "locals"? Certainly more than I am.

GMs who run games in my events always get to sign up just as early as "locals." It's a carrot on a stick to reward everyone who participates in the community. I bet most of the lodges in question have a similar policy.

It boils down to resources. As we integrated more VTT GMs over the last 8 months (either through training locals or befriending online GMs), we have relaxed all these policies.

If a lodge has strict signups they are probably grappling with these resources. If you are interested in joining a struggling community, the question shouldn't be "how can I force them to let me in" — it should be "how can I help".

Every lodge WANTS to welcome players near and far. Whether they CAN is another question.

**

Blake's Tiger wrote:
Quote:
Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!
When I have that thought, it's usually a sign that I should cancel the post I'm writing and go do something else.

Perhaps. But I have a vested interest in seeing games thrive, and also, the SFBA leaders are nice people so I want to bring up concerns I have.

Blake's Tiger wrote:
I feel as though you're overthinking the term "local."

Perhaps. But I think this past year has changed the player pool, so it's worth revisiting assumptions.

There are probably more people that prefer VTT over F2F in 2021 than there were in 2019, and the current structure of VTT games (siloed through their corresponding geographically-locked F2F venues) is worth evaluating. Some people may want to keep playing VTT even if a concurrent F2F is happening.

If in the future F2F moves back to VTT (through surges or local surges), we may waffle back and forth between formats. For example, if the SFBA (or other big pool areas) no longer offers many VTT games, but FLGSs in another area are still mostly closed, what happens if the people SFBA absorbed start swarming other games?

If leadership prefers to handle issues as they arrive, that's fine too.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Someone coming in by plane train or automobile has a serious bandwidth limit that folks online really don't have. The situations aren't comparable.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/55/55/5 * Venture-Captain, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

Watery Soup wrote:
My concern is very specifically about the word "local". I'll use myself as an example of this - geographically, I'm in the East Bay. But historically, I've played more in the South Bay because I used to work there. Over this past year, I've played with San Francisco more than any other lodge, because the day of the week worked out best. Which region am I a local to? (FWIW, I argue none - I don't play enough in any region that someone should wonder how their policy affects me.)

I think, as Blake said, you're overthinking the term. You have played at our F2F tables, you live in the greater Bay Area, you're likely to be a part of our post-covid F2F community, you're a local. It doesn't need to be more complicated than that.

Watery Soup wrote:
On the flip side, the SFBA has picked up a lot of e-wanderers over the past year - people that regularly play, and regularly GM, for SFBA games even though they are geographically distant. Are they "locals"? Certainly more than I am.

I have enjoyed playing with a lot of those people, and I hope I continue to have the opportunity to do so, but I disagree with this statement. As I said, our VTT games were started as a way to maintain our local community so that it still exists when we are able to get back to F2F games. You are much more likely to be a part of that return to F2F gaming (I assume, given that I've played in person with you at multiple local venues) than someone joining us from Florida or Chicago or Texas is, regardless of how much or how little you have played in our VTT games compared to them.

I've enjoyed our expanded community in these virtual times, and I hope we are able to continue it in some capacity, but we aren't the online lodge. That can't be the focus of our decision-making.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

Watery Soup wrote:
Tommi Ketonen wrote:
Why would you think there is something wrong with GM's deciding how and who can sign up for their game?

Because, if it's not common in Finland, it's certainly the case here in the San Francisco Bay Area that GMs neither decide what game they're running nor do they have the means to control who signs up - the VOs put games on the schedule and control the lodge recruiting.

Many, but not all, of the GMs are also VOs, so there's some overlap, but not exactly.

Oh my, are your VOs holding you at gunpoint to run games? No? Are they restricting your access to internet if you run games outside their schedule?

No?
Then you have exactly as much freedom to pick and choose your players and scenarios as me and my GMs do.

You're mixing up *coordination* with *restrictions*. I also pick what games should be run locally and suggest which GMs would run them. This is mostly because I'm keeping tabs on what's been run recently, who's been playing, what kind of levels our local players roughly have, which program has interest and what kind of games our players might maybe want. I try to pitch easier scenarios to our newer/less experienced GMs, try to get our more experienced gms to run harder stuff, while trying to make sure they get to play too.
None of the GMs is forced to do as I ask. Sometimes they decline to run a scenario because they want to play it instead first. Sometimes they cancel and I'll scramble to arrange someone else to GM, or I'll step in and run the game instead. A couple times I've had new GMs ask if they could run scenarios that I know to be troublesome, and I've suggested they run another scenario instead. I wouldn't nor couldn't stop them if they decided to do so anyway, though.

In short, VOs -coordinate- stuff because that's kinda our job. We can't -force- people to do as we say, though.
Your area's GMs absolutely do decide which games they run, and they 100% get to decide who they take into their games. They've merely decided to go with your VOs suggestions. They could, at any point, decide to run a different scenario, or put up their own sign up stating that first three slots are reserved for Jim, Jane, and John with 2 slots free for anyone who lives in Antarctica.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

Watery Soup wrote:


My concern is very specifically about the word "local".

...

I'm not advocating any specific ruling or policy, just pointing out that as things return to "normal", there are going to be some questions - especially in a F2F/VTT hybrid format.

Why are you so stuck on that word? It means quite literally anything the person putting up the sign up wants it to mean.

If you send invites to your 4 close friends, the "locals" are a very small group. If you put the sign up in a store, it probably includes all the customers of that store. If you put it online (with no restrictions), "locals" is a pretty wide are.

Again, IF the game benefits from RSP, then it needs to be public and open for anyone. Other than that, it's -always- a private game that is only open to those who were invited - Some people just like to invite literally everyone by posting an internet-wide announcement on warhorse, but thats their own, free choice. Others may want to invite only "locals", whatever it means to them.

There's already a policy in place, The RSP one. Any other sort of policy would require some sort of "gm sanctioning process" where only licenced GMs have permissions to run games, but thats not how pfs works. Anyone can run games, anytime, to anyone they want.

(Also, I find it funny that you claim that SFBA GMs have no say in what and how they run, and get debunked by both a VL and VC and you respond by them no understanding what you're asking? What are you asking, then? Are you trying to say that you think GMs should not be able to restrict/choose their players? How would you even enforce that, and why?)

Edit:

Watery Soup wrote:


For example, if the SFBA (or other big pool areas) no longer offers many VTT games, but FLGSs in another area are still mostly closed, what happens if the people SFBA absorbed start swarming other games?

What do you think happens? Either they find games with open slots, or they don't, or somebody starts GMing (or GMs more) to support the community.

Also, if there are players and GMs interested in VTT games, why would the area stop offering VTT games? Again, literally Nothing prevents those people from running and playing their games online. Even if the SFBA VOs for some reason didn't bother schedule games for VTTs even as their community actively wants those games, nothing prevents the community from running those games. It's not like Doug or John comes to cut your cable to stop you from playing >.>

4/5 **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West

To be fair to WS, I think "Local/ non-local" categories can feel a little exclusionary. I can totally see why it bothers some people.

Dropping those labels in favor of "Online Only" and "Local & Online" or something similar may be better. Seems to be more accurate too.

Anyway… like every lodge we're just doing our best. These are strange times and we're all learning together.

Grand Lodge 4/5 5/55/5 ***

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Similar to what some have said, we wanted to separate our local lodge players from the world-wide community so they would have first chance to sign up for our local online games that were substituting for live FLGS play. So we created a “preferred” role on Warhorn that we assign to our local group. When we open registrations, initially we only allow players with the preferred role to sign up. Then roughly a week or so before the event if it isn’t full, we open it up to all cleared players. This saves us from having to unclear out of local players after each event to give the locals priority status again, but it also gives us the possibility of seating full tables with global players when our locals are not available. It’s essentially a win-win for everyone. The only hiccup is when players choose not to read the entry page that clear instructs them of this as well as any other requirements we might have. Then we have to communicate with them individually. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen often, so it’s been manageable so far.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

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"Local" really means whatever the lodge wants it to mean. If they like a foreign VTT player they can give that person the "local" tag in Warhorn too.

It might be useful if the Warhorn game search page allowed you to filter for this - show you only games with free seats that are actually free for you to sign up to. Right now, a locals first/only game is not easily distinguished so you run into barriers when you thought you were nearly there.

Like I said before, instead of searching in Warhorn and then running into barriers because a game wasn't as open as it first looked, you can also go through the discord servers, like Organized Play Online, Roll For Combat, Cayden's Keg, Cosmic Crittermanders and others. If you see a game advertised there, you know they're not looking for locals first/only.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Captain, Online—VTT

Eric Nielsen wrote:

My understanding:

1) if its an Online lodge, they generally need to be open to everyone with no favoritism
2) If its a local lodge offering online play (mainly as a way to keep their community together during this time period), its allowed to have advanced sign up for local members -- you still can't reserve seats for _particular_ people.

People were always free to set a lower seat limit than the max allowed. Either due to GM comfort, venue seating, time constraints, etc.

To my knowledge none of the Online region lodges have limits to 'locals' (we're all locals online) and are all open to anyone who can match the time and wants a space, many of them are first advertised on the lodge itself or our main discord server before being posted elsewhere, but that's very different.

I know that I and many others from the online region have talked to a number of 'meatspace' lodges VOs over the last year about how they can best focus on keeping & building their local, irl, community whilst also being open to visitors from around the web, since there are many more constraints on public gatherings, but not to the point that their locals are unable to find seats at tables they run.

The 'let irl local players sign up first, then open it to anyone' approach is the best solution that we could suggest given the limits on things. It enables lodges to keep gaming together, to ensure that the very community they will need to ensure that their lodge survives and can return to physical games eventually by ensuring they get a chance to continue gaming with one another, but it also offers the chance for the wider community to join in and help fill tables to ensure the games fire, as well as creating more bonds and connections between us all, whilst not crowding a lodge out of its own games.

If anyone has ideas they feel would work better then I'm quite sure many people would be very willing to listen, but this is currently one of the better ways to serve the whole community and ensure as many irl lodges as possible emerge with a community intact to return to physical gaming eventually.

Dark Archive 4/5 Venture-Captain, Online—VTT

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Watery Soup wrote:


There are probably more people that prefer VTT over F2F in 2021 than there were in 2019, and the current structure of VTT games (siloed through their corresponding geographically-locked F2F venues) is worth evaluating. Some people may want to keep playing VTT even if a concurrent F2F is happening.

Luckily... there's an entire region that serves only VTT and Play by Post games. Multiple lodges for both with hundreds of games (actually 1000+) offered every year before the pandemic even became a thing, and those lodges have only grown since then. We'll still be here, growing, and stronger than ever with all the new tools developed in the last year and a half and the continuing growth of players and GMs who enjoy that format, so thankfully there is literally no reason to be concerned that anyone who enjoys VTT games won't be able to play plenty :)

5/5 *** Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

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I just want people to read and follow the instructions on our warhorn, and not just click join game with no sense of community, just looking for a game that happens to be at a convenient time.

1/5 5/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Try to be very careful when registering to put a note in the sign-up about where I am from roughly.

Also very willing if a local for a table is wait-listed to hop out if needed.

Sure, OrgPlay is a community but we have to remember that there are many, many layers to a community to make it work.

Silver Crusade

Watery Soup wrote:
Dennis Muldoon wrote:
we slowly (and at times painfully) built out structures to run VTT games over the last 15 months with the specific intention of maintaining our community so we would have a player and GM base to come back to when we could return to F2F gaming. The ability to play with folks from around the world is a great side benefit, but not if it interferes with maintaining our local community.

Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in!

My concern is very specifically about the word "local". I'll use myself as an example of this - geographically, I'm in the East Bay. But historically, I've played more in the South Bay because I used to work there. Over this past year, I've played with San Francisco more than any other lodge, because the day of the week worked out best. Which region am I a local to? (FWIW, I argue none - I don't play enough in any region that someone should wonder how their policy affects me.)

On the flip side, the SFBA has picked up a lot of e-wanderers over the past year - people that regularly play, and regularly GM, for SFBA games even though they are geographically distant. Are they "locals"? Certainly more than I am.

I'm not advocating any specific ruling or policy, just pointing out that as things return to "normal", there are going to be some questions - especially in a F2F/VTT hybrid format.

I mean, I personally am loving that I can GM for Silicon Valley, CA all the way from the comfort of my home in Sydney, NSW (Aus). And I get full tables of people excited to play, plus I'm helping prevent local GM burn out cause my time zone and schedule means that I'm running their Thursday night PFS1e on my Friday morning just before lunch. Free GM Xp to get Stars (I would say Novas, but there's been more call for PFS1e), which is great, as a newer GM in my area vs the old guard is a struggle to get games to GM and players that I like playing with.

But it has been hard, cause yeah, I'm an introduced species to these lodges, so a lot of limiting lodges means that I can't work my schedule to get these last minute games with friends I made by offering my services at cons. Either the game that gets posted like 2 months in advance fills up before I get a chance to sign up 3-7 days before the game, I get recruited to cover other GMs for other games or RL happens.

I like planning my play schedule months in advance (I've started on my Sept-Oct schedule already). I wouldn't mind the local player priority so much if it was a "you can sign up in advance like everyone else, but if there's local players on the waitlist, we will let the GMs decide if first come, first served or if they want locals prioritised", hell, I took up seats to finish 3 and 4 of Echoes of the Everwar PFS1e scenarios, then turned around and GM'd it a few months later (pts 1-4).

I know a lot of lodge e-invaders only play, and that can frustrate online GMs who want to seat for their locals first, but that ignores lodge e-invading players who also GM for local slots or volunteer for your local cons that get moved online. It's an option to further grow tbh, because more GMs offering means more games, in more time slots (Like, if you have local players that have schedules that means they work night shift, they're unlikely to turn up at your weekend day games unless they can swing it. But me, foreign GM on a time zone that is primarily available when your beloved local night shift workers would be available to play, it means that more of your locals get games).

It's just things to consider.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

I'm trying to understand why people keep bringing the Regional Support Program into this, I don't see the link at all.

As above, due to the covid lockdowns we have had to move to online play where face to face cannot be achieved, the intent is to open games to players who come to our local lodges. Unfortunately what has actually happened was that we got hordes of people we've never heard of signing up and locking out the player base from our usual venues.

All that has happened with the Online playspace is that we've ended up enjoying the globalisation of the GM shortage. Pretty sure no one is complaining about not being able to sign up as a GM.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

Shifty wrote:

I'm trying to understand why people keep bringing the Regional Support Program into this, I don't see the link at all.

Because the topic is "ONLINE GAMES / LODGES EXCLUDING NON-LOCALS AND LIMITING TABLES SIZE" and whether or not they should be allowed to do so, and the answer to that question is that there is literally no way to prevent them from doing so, unless they are benefiting from the RSP.

Literally, OP asked

Quote:
Is this legal in organized play?

And the answer is "Yes, explicitly so, and there's literally nothing anyone can (or even Should) do about it" (unless they are also benefiting from RSP in which case it's not legal).

5/5 5/55/55/5

Now that everything is on ACP isn't the regional support program defunct?

2/5 5/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Now that everything is on ACP isn't the regional support program defunct?

As I understand it, it provides bonus AcP for certain non-convention game days.

Dark Archive 4/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Finland—Turku

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Now that everything is on ACP isn't the regional support program defunct?
Quote:

For PFS2, regional support program doesn't exist in the same way as it does for PFS1e and SFS, but, it has Premier Events which grant +25% achievement points:

"Premier events: games played at conventions and local events designated part of the Regional Support Program.", and since those are also part of the regional support program, they should also be open for everyone.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Now that everything is on ACP isn't the regional support program defunct?

It's going back a bit to one of its original intents: putting a temporary spotlight on a specific venue. That originally got heavily overshadowed by the other aim: getting boons in the hands of people who can't go to cons.

AFAIK right now the idea is that to give a venue RSP, you make a new Paizo reporting event for it and report games in that venue there, and they get a % extra ACP. And this special event is supposed to last only a quarter of the year - then the spotlight should move on.

Sovereign Court 4/5 5/5 ** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden

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Cassi wrote:
I like planning my play schedule months in advance (I've started on my Sept-Oct schedule already). I wouldn't mind the local player priority so much if it was a "you can sign up in advance like everyone else, but if there's local players on the waitlist, we will let the GMs decide if first come, first served or if they want locals prioritised", hell, I took up seats to finish 3 and 4 of Echoes of the Everwar PFS1e scenarios, then turned around and GM'd it a few months later (pts 1-4).

The devil is in the details here.

If a lodge says "we don't open up signups to guests until X days before the event, so that locals have enough chance to sign up first", I think that's perfectly fine.

But if a guest signs up, and then locals show up and they bump the guest to the waiting list, that's quite different. It's capricious and rude and isn't necessary if the lodge had set up their policies more thoughtfully.

5/5 5/55/55/5

Lau Bannenberg wrote:

That originally got heavily overshadowed by the other aim: getting boons in the hands of people who can't go to cons.

I found it immensely useful for motivating people to DM.

4/5 5/55/55/55/5

Policies - RSP
Also note that the 'rewards' mentioned ar out dated

RSP doesn't indicate anywhere that you have to offer anything to anyone, so whether the venue has RSP or not has 0 bearing on the conversation.

You get the bonus AcP for a short period of time (a quarter) and you get a 25% boost to AcP. That's it.

It seems to now be a pretty opaque system with an unclear process and no clear logic about how it is applied, frankly as a VC I couldn't be bothered with it anymore as the juice is not worth the squeeze. The old system was SIGNIFICANTLY better.

2/5 5/5 *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Quote:
Qualifying Event: Any public event at a qualifying location.

Italics mine.

Doesn't that indicates the event must be open to anyone wandering in from the public?

Sczarni 5/5 5/55/5 ***

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Gas stations are open to the public, too, but the dude who's been thrown out five times for licking the Slurpee machine isn't allowed to come in anymore.

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